Elon Musk, Twitter’s largest shareholder, has proposed a series of changes to the social media giant’s premium subscription service Twitter Blue, including a price cut, an advertising ban and the ability to pay in cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Musk, who just days ago announced a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, was offered a seat on the board of directors, a move that has some Twitter employees panicking about the future of his content moderation ability.
Twitter Blue, launched in June 2021, is Twitter’s first subscription service and offers “exclusive access to premium features” on a monthly subscription basis, according to Twitter. It is available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In a Twitter post, the head of electric vehicle maker Tesla suggested that users who sign up for Twitter Blue should pay significantly less than the current $2.99 per month and be given an authentication tick and an option to pay in local currency .
“Price should probably be around $2/month but is prepaid 12 months and account will be unticked for 60 days (watch out for credit card chargebacks) and suspended without refund if used for fraud/spam,” said Mr Musk in a tweet.
“And no ads. Corporate power to dictate policy is greatly enhanced when Twitter relies on advertising money to survive.”
Mr Musk also suggested an option to pay with Dogecoin and asked Twitter users for their opinion.
Twitter declined to comment on Mr Musk’s proposals.
The company already allows people to tip their favorite content creators using Bitcoin. Twitter said last year that it plans to support authentication for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are digital assets like images or videos that exist on a blockchain.
Mr Musk also launched a poll on his Twitter account – which has more than 81million followers – asking whether the company’s San Francisco headquarters should be converted into a homeless shelter since “no one is showing up (to work there)”.
The poll received more than 300,000 votes in an hour, with 90 percent answering yes.
Despite Twitter’s reiteration this week that the board does not make policy decisions, Twitter employees have said they are concerned about Mr Musk’s ability to influence company policy.
With Mr Musk on the board, staff said his views on moderation could weaken years of efforts to make Twitter a place for healthy discourse and allow trolling and mob attacks to flourish.
Mr Musk hasn’t said exactly what he intends to do as a new board member, but he has telegraphed his intentions with his Twitter activity. A week before disclosing his stake in Twitter, he asked his followers if the site upheld the principle of free speech. The majority voted no.
Staffers cite Mr Musk’s story of using Twitter to attack critics. In 2018 he came under fire for accusing a British diver of being a pedophile who helped rescue children trapped in a cave in Thailand.
A Twitter spokesman said the board “plays an important advisory and feedback role throughout our service,” but day-to-day operations and decisions are made by Twitter’s management and employees.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/elon-musk-takes-aim-at-twitter-blue-in-first-intervention-41539995.html Elon Musk targets Twitter Blue in first intervention